Boy Abunda: From King of Talk to Doctor of Philosophy

by Julie E. Bonifacio
Jul 7, 2016
His PhD gives Boy Abunda the license to teach in a university, but politics also beckons. What will his second career be? "Siguro in the future, I want to take up more seminars on Diplomacy," he muses. "Why? Wala lang."

Boy Abunda cried in the middle of his speech as the guest speaker for the 93rd Commencement Exercises of Philippine Women’s University at the Philippine International Convention Center on July 2.

Before the graduating class of PWU, he read the letter he wrote for his mom Licerna Abunda, who became his inspiration to put up a foundation called Make Your Nanay Proud (MYNP).

He also recounted his simple life in Borongan, Samar, with his dad Eugenio Abunda Sr., an accountant, and his mom who was a teacher.

Both his parents wanted their only son to become a lawyer.

Boy took up Business Management in Ateneo de Manila University, but he had to stop studying after his father died.

“Alam mo, hindi ako grumadweyt ng college, wala akong diploma.

“But when I went back to school, nag-ETTIAP [Expanded Tertiary Education Equivalency and Accreditation Program] ako at nakatapos ng kurso on Communications sa PWU.

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“I got my diploma, from my diploma, I went for my Master’s in Communications, pinaghirapan ko ‘yan.

“Nag-double Master’s ako, wala lang akong thesis doon sa International Relations and Public Diplomacy.

“Kasi gusto ko pang maging mahusay mag-interview lalo na kapag pulitika ang pinag-uusapan.

“Hindi ako huminto doon, I could have taken PhD in Communications, hindi ko ginawa ko yun.

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“Nag-PhD ako in Social Development because I wanted a course that was not comfortable to me.

“Mas may challenge ba, ‘di ba? Tinatanong nga nila ako, ‘Bakit nag-Social Development ka?’

“Dahil gusto ko ng mundo na iba… I took the course in two years."

Boy reiterated that he's been a regular student.

“Lahat ‘yang subjects, pinapasukan ko, hindi ako nag-online.

“Not that online is less [but] because that can be more challenging.

“Pumasok ako sa eskwela, lahat. Natapos ako 2013 ng PhD in Social Work.

“Then, I started my dissertation, two years and a half, January of 2014.

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"Dinifend ko ng May of 2016, two years and a half kasi nga may trabaho tayo.

“Yung two years and a half na yun, tuluy-tuloy lang na research. Sige lang, tingin-tingin.

“Importante sa akin ito dahil ayokong tumigil sa kakaaral

"I don’t want to stop learning.”

DR. BOY ABUNDA. His latest achievement is very important for him.

He asked, “So bakit ako nag-aaral?

“Unang dahilan niyan, you have to constantly evolve and I really want to teach...

“It’s important to me because na-prove ko sa sarili na hindi ka talaga puwedeng huminto dahil sa edad mo, hindi.

“Number two, I finally gave Nanay a diploma, I mean, hindi lang 'yan college."

Does his mom know about his doctorate degree?

“Yes, aware siya at saka nag-Master’s ang Nanay, pero walang thesis, in education...

“Ang sarap matuto, nakakabata, totoo…and it also humbles you because you realize that you don’t know a lot.

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“Ako ngayon, PhD, ang feeling ko ang dami kong hindi alam, totoo yun."

Even with his hosting?

Boy has been in the business for more than three decades, but he's never complacent.

“I am an interviewer...pinanood ko yung Donald Trump-Meagan Kelly interview.

“Ang dami ko na namang nadidiskubre, it’s a constant discovery of new style.

“How people are doing it now, hindi ka puwedeng magsabing you are the best, nagbabago, e.

“Si Meagen Kelly, ang kanyang intro at extro sa kanyang interview, mga thoughts niya."

COMPETITIVENESS. How about his partner Bong Quintana, has Boy been encouraging him to study again?

“No, si Bong is actually taking his Master’s pero nahihirapan.

His being competitive, he said, is never an issue between him and his partner.

Laughing, Boy resumed, “Ay, hindi, pinagtatawanan lang ako ni Bong, hindi ako siniseryoso.

“Sa amin, walang competition, ibinibigay ko sa kanya yung beauty.

“Akin na lang ang Q&A, tanggap naming pareho yun.”

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If he has one advice to those who want to go back to school, he said, “Go for it! There will always be challenges, kung pera, pag-ipunan mo.

“Ako ang challenge ko, ang oras. pero nagawan ko ng praraan.

“Imadyinin mo naman ang schedule ko? Paano ko naman nagawa yun?

“Yung dissertation, usually it’s done for about six months; ako, two years and a half.

“Hindi ko ikinahihiya kasi wala akong oras, okay lang ako.”

Lastly, how does he want to be called? King of Talk or Dr. Boy Abunda?

“I am welcoming any kind of…" he didn't get to finish his sentence.

Then, he added, " lang ba, wala na bang susunod?"

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His PhD gives Boy Abunda the license to teach in a university, but politics also beckons. What will his second career be? "Siguro in the future, I want to take up more seminars on Diplomacy," he muses. "Why? Wala lang."
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